Roof competent to stand trial in church shooting, judge rules
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The white man charged in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church last year is competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Friday.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel’s decision clears the way for jury selection to restart Monday in the hate-crimes trial of 22year-old Dylann Roof.
The judge had delayed the process of narrowing the final jury pool Nov. 7 when Roof’s lawyers suggested their client either didn’t understand the charges against him or couldn’t properly help them with his defense.
Roof is charged in federal court with hate crimes, obstruction of religion and other counts in connection with the June 17, 2015, attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
Roof could face the death penalty if convicted, authorities said.